Maria Luisa Castellanos
Planning your new Miami home or remodeling to reduce insurance costs
Sometimes a particular remodeling or addition to a home can get you more in value than the actual cost of the item. There are two parts of the house which will add not only value to the home, but will also reduce the cost of wind insurance. These are the roof and impact windows.
Wind mitigation is a big topic in South Florida. Although we have not had a hurricane in 10 years or more, the cost of homeowner’s insurance continues to go up. So whatever we can do to reduce the cost of insurance on a yearly basis is money in the pocket of the homeowner.
The first item which will reduce the cost of a homeowner’s policy is a concrete slab on the roof. It must be over 95% of the house to get the credit. This is not easy to do unless the house already has a flat wood-framed roof. This change will create a large deduction on a homeowner’s policy but will also strengthen the solidity of the house in general.
Unlike wood-framed roofs which must have perfect connections with bolts to the concrete ties beams below, concrete slabs are poured together with the tie-beams creating a more solid and continuous connection to the rest of the house. Wood-framed roofs can easily detach from the concrete tie-beams if the bolts are not properly secured. In addition, the wood framing itself can come apart. And if the roof finish is separated from the plywood sheathing, it can rain in the house. Even though the roofing membrane can separate from a concrete roof, it will take a while before water can penetrate a well-constructed concrete roof slab.
There is no comparison in the stability and strength of a concrete roof in comparison to a wood-framed roof. A concrete slab roof is much superior.
When planning a new house, this should be a serious consideration. Now that modern houses have become so popular especially with millennials in the Miami area, a flat-roofed house in concrete could be a winning project, especially later when selling the house. This would present a real benefit to a buyer.
The second item which will reduce the cost of a homeowner’s policy is changing all the windows to impact glass. Although this could represent tens of thousands of dollars as an initial investment, it would return a reduction in the homeowner’s policy premium on a yearly basis and would again make the house very attractive when the homeowner is ready to sell it. Some people have storm shutters for their windows, but most people today don’t want to be dealing with them every time a hurricane is announced. People prefer buying houses with impact-resistant windows.
So in summary, when building or remodeling a house, consider concrete roof slabs and impact-resistant windows. Both will save money over time in a homeowner’s insurance premiums.